Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas to all...

Merry Christmas to all of you. I wanted to post while I had the time--I know I'm a day early but with the family and services I will not be able to post until later. I'll leave you with the following excert from Archbishop Rowan Williams Christmas message to the communion...thought it was great.

There is something about Christianity that always pulls us back from imagining that everything will be all right if we can find the right things to say - because for God, the right thing to say at Christmas was the crying of a small child, beginning a life of risk and suffering. God shows us how, by his grace and in his Spirit, we can respond to the tormenting riddles of the world. And, as we agonise over the future of our beloved church, with all its debates and bitter struggles at the moment, it does us no harm to remember that God will not solve our Anglican problems by a plan or a formula, but only by the miracle of his love in Jesus. If we want to be part of the solution, we must first be wholly and unconditionally pledged to that love, with all its costs. May God who works in the weakness and smallness of the Christmas child work in our weakness and smallness; may he bless and strengthen you all this season.

All I can say to that is amen!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thoughts for Advent...

The good folks over at Thinking Anglicans have some useful commentary on the Archbishop's advent letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion. I would encourage you to read it. It addresses Advent in some more appropriate ways than our current cultural trends usually handle this season of anticipation.

Monday, December 19, 2005


The Chronicles of Narnia....I have been wanting to see the movie for such a long time. All the lead up to the release of the film, and now its been a few weeks and I still have not had the time to see it.

My friend Nick, over at Entangled States, has this to say about the film. Don't think I'll take my daughter, she seems a little young. But still want to see it. Maybe I should pray to St. Anthony to help me find some time!

If any of you have seen it, let me know what you think...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Today is one of the three winter Ember days on the church calendar. For a really good explanation of what this is click here. In short, it is a day that we remember those persons who have taken holy orders, and pray that others might be called by God to a vocation, whether it be lay or clergy. It is also a good day for every one to consider how God is calling them into deeper relationship.

Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, in your divine providence you have appointed various orders in your Church: Give your grace, we humbly pray, to all who are called to any office and ministry for your people; and so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before you, to the glory of your great Name and for the benefit of your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Looking east

Haven't had a chance to post anything recently with all the transitions going. But I have been reading a little, and this caught my eye. Especially seeing as it is not about what has usually been hashed over for the last 2 years in the Episcopal blogsphere.

It is about the idea of returning to the more customary altar arrangement of the priest facing east with the rest of the congregation. Check out the original article here. And then read some commentary over at Titusone:nine.

Let me know what you think...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Bishop Thompson make the papers

The Cincinnati Enquirer ran articles today about our Bishop. It is a good read and can be viewed here, here, and here. As convention begins this week, I am struck by the bitter-sweet mood of the whole affair. I am excited for His Grace, and the beginning of a new chapter in his life. But I will also miss his wisdom, gentleness and passion for the Gospel. Kyrie eleison on your road ahead my friend...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Canterbury tales

In one of the many saints calendars, today is the commemoration of Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the "Canterbury Tales." As a teenager, my knowledge of this unique collection of stories didn't extend much beyond the fact that most of them seemed too offensive to print in our high school literature text books. But as I grew up, I came to view this collected works as an example of risus paschalis, or holy laughter.

Did you know that preachers in the medieval church had to include an amusing story in their Easter sermons to get the congregation to laugh. It was a response to leaving the solemnity of Lent and entering into the joy of God overcoming the world in the Resurrection.

Laughter is often a tonic for the soul, and unfortunately in the midst of crisis laughter is the first thing that gets thrown out the window. The leaders of the Anglican Communion might do well to learn again how to laugh with one another. For there seems to be a lot of overly serious ranting and not enough laughter to keep us all honest.

So in honor of Chaucer and his gift of laughter in the form of the "Canterbury Tales," I'll end this entry with a joke instead of a prayer....

During a recent audience, a businessman approached the Archbishop of Canterbury and made this offer: 'If he changed the last line of the Lord's Prayer from "Give us this day our daily bread" to "Give us this day our daily hamburger" McDonald's would give the church $1 million every time His Grace prayed it in public.' Of course the Archbishop declined, claiming he could not change the sacred text.

The next week, the businessman offered him $50 million for every time he prayer it in public. The Archbishop said he would have to consult with his council, and the following day met with the other Primates of the Church.

The Archbishop began the meeting by saying, "Boys, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is the church will never have to worry about money again. The bad news is we have to figure out some way of getting out of our contract with Wonderbread!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Shaking the dust off

In my prayer group today, God gave us each the desire to pray for revival in the Church. And in doing so, Ezekiel came to mind. God gave Ezekiel the command to preach and prophecy to the dry bones that life might be restored to them. And I thought if God can give life to dry bones, how much more can He work through the lives of you and me!

In the end, all it takes is for the Spirit of God to shake off a little of the dust that gathers and give us wisdom and strength for the journey ahead. The key is to remember we don't do the work of revival, that is the job of the Holy Spirit. We are simply His vessels. And sometimes all we need is God to clean us up a little.

All this brought to mind a song from my youth, There Shall be Showers of Blessing. In it, God is bringing the abundance, and it is just our job to receive it...

There shall be showers of blessings,
this is a promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
sent from the Savior above.

It's my prayer that we might all open our hearts to this shower of abundance that God wishes to pour out in our lives and in the life of the Church.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The announcement has been made

These have been interesting days in the life of the Queen-Thompson household. After much prayer and searching and after an extended period of consideration, I have accepted the call as the next rector of the Episcopal church in my hometown. It seems that this country boy is going back to the country!

It has been a surprise for many, including myself. When I left 15 years ago to attend college, I never assumed I'd return. But times change, and God has given me and my family an opportunity that we could not turn away.

I feel blessed and fortunate to be able to minister among my own people. And in many ways, I've been preparing for this my whole life.

The announcement has been made, and the transitions have begun. I will begin my tenure as rector of All Saints, Portsmouth, after the first of the year. What God has in store I can only guess, but I know it will be exciting!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

If you are faithful in a little...

If you are faithful in a little, I will make you faithful in much... I know this might be a loose paraphrase, but I'm reminded of these words of our Lord as one of the ladies in our Altar Guild is sewing linens for churches ravaged by Katrina. It's not a lot, but it is a place to start helping our brothers and sisters begin anew. Our prayers are with you all...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Deliver them, O Lord...

For the next few weeks, we will be offering prayers and Masses for the people and communities devastated by the recent hurricane.

In particular, I will be offering prayers for the Very Rev. David DuPlantier, and the people of Christ Church Cathedral, in New Orleans. Fr. David began his ministry in this diocese and our prayers are with him and his family...

Thou, O Lord, that stillest the raging of the sea, hear, hear us, and save us, that we perish not...

If you are interested in helping in the disaster relief, you can donate funds through Episcopal Relief and Development, located here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Rest eternal grant him, O Lord...

Brother Roger of Taize Posted by Picasa

We morn the horrific death this week of one of the shining lights of the Christian Faith, Brother Roger. Read about him here. And about the facts surrounding his death, here.

Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of those who depart hence in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity; We give thee hearty thanks for the good examples of all those thy servants, who, having finished their course in faith, do now rest from their labours. And we beseech thee, that we, with all those who are departed in the true faith of thy holy Name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Monday, August 08, 2005

An answer to prayer...

the Rt. Rev. John W. Howe of Central Florida Posted by Picasa

Recently, my prayers for the church have been the central focus of my time spent in the daily office. More specifically, I have been praying for peace among the factions within the church who seem to genuinely enjoy waging war on one another.

I have also been praying for the leadership of the church, hoping our Bishops might show a little more charity to one another rather than tossing press releases and email encyclicals like hand grenades.

I thought most of this was in vain, with the seeming entrenchment on each side. But God still speaks and moves mightily in our day and age.

Over the week end, Bishop + John of Central Florida did a brave and noble thing, admitting an error and seeking forgiveness. Thank you, Bishop + John! You are in my the posting from the diocesan website here. And although I'd rather not link to David Virtue's website for all its ranting and at times base language, he has published Bishop + John's full letter here.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

An interesting article...

I've been leafing through the August 2005 issue of Harper's this week, and there is a great article by Bill McKibben titled, "How a Christian Nation Gets Jesus Wrong."

Whatever your political flavor, you'll find this interesting. Especially the comments about mainline denominations being entrenched in the issues of the day and forgetting mission. You can read a fragment of the story here. But I think you'll have to buy the magazine to read the entire story (or visit a library.)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bishop Maze speaks...

Although we don't always agree, Fr. Harmon has a great piece blogging the remarks of Bishop Maze of Arkansas. It's all about traveling without a map. Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Who would have thought?

The list of the 50 most influential churches in the US was released recently by the people who do that stuff. The usual suspects made the list....Saddleback, Willowcreek and the like. But much to my surprise, and probably that of most episcopalians, we made the list--more than once!

Whatever this means is hard to say. I often think that the Church risks becoming a mirror for the fad management practice of the day. At the same time, without vision and ways to accomplish it the people perish.

So check the list out here. It might surprise you...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Moving Forward

It is with no little irony that on the day that marked the 472 anniversary of Pope Clement VII excommunicating Henry (VIII) Tudor, the General Synod of the Church of England voted to remove legal impediments against women being elected as Bishops. For a thorough look at the goings on see here.

It hasn't been that long since the Episcopal Church (USA) elected its first female to the episcopate either. It seems that the tempest is still brewing from that event. And I am sure that our sisters and brothers in the CofE will not escape this without the occasional brew-hah-hah.

Controversy is often the order of the day when people of faith are willing to allow the Holy Spirit loose in the affairs of the church. Jesus said as much in the Gospel of Matthew...I did not come to bring peace, but a sword...turning son against father, and daughter against mother...

These are hard words for us to swallow in an age that is chaotic enough on its own. We like our church to be neat and in order and our faith to be a comfort. But we are not always promised that. However, God does promise to never leave us or forsake us, even in the rough moments. Because it is in our trials that we are shaped and hewn into the beautiful creations God intended...

One of my favorite hymns says it best...

The peace of God, it is no peace,
but strife closed in the sod.
Yet let us pray for but one thing
the marvelous peace of God.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Why is it hard to be grateful?

I've been thinking about this recently. Why it is so hard to be grateful. It seems, in the immortal words of Joannie Mitchell... "You don't know what you got 'till it's gone..." I know I tend to be like that a lot. Only this week, after catching a stomach virus from my one year old son, did I miss my good health. Any other time I'd take my health for granted--especially when downing a Big Mac or Sonic Burger. And yet, now that I have a familiarity with my watercloset that I wish for no one else, I'm grateful that my health over the years has been good, and yearn for its return.

I'm like that with the church I serve. We have grown at an incredible rate over the past 2 years of our existence. And yet, I can't help but feel unsatisfied with where we are. I constantly want more. More people in the pews...More programs in our offerings to the congregation...Greater spirituality among our people and their prayer life.

Can't I just be joyful at where we are?

I'm not talking about giving up on the vision of our community, but rather being joyful for all God has given us!

Maybe humans are not programmed like that. Or maybe we've learned some bad habits from our consumer, production driven society.

Tomorrow, May 26, the Calendar for the day commemorates Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury. Although Christianity had been brought to England before the 300's, by the time Augustine landed in England (early 600's), the Viking invasions had done considerable damage to its religious foundations. It was Augustine, and later successors to the throne of Canterbury who brought organization and vision to the Church in England.

But can you imagine what he and his companions faced in those early days? Days of building from the ground up. Our task, I assume, is a much simpler one. And our calling is to faithfulness and gratitude and joy, not ambition and money and prestige.

I know this doesn't answer my question, but maybe gaining some new perspective on our condition by lessons from the past can help deliver us from the sin of an ungrateful spirit.

We beseech you, loving Father, pour into our hearts the grace of an abounding gratitude; that we may ever praise and glorify you for the goodness and mercy that have followed us all the days of our life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2005

God's welfare system...

"To make God real; to change people's lives..."

This was the personal credo of Dr. Leslie Weatherhead (1893-1976), a prominent London preacher of the mid-twentieth century. The words are significant because they are the sum of the religious environment I grew up with.

"God can be known intimately in Jesus Christ, and that relationship will change a person to the very core of their being." This was the underlying message of all that I was taught in that little church in the backwoods of southeastern Ohio where I was raised. It wasn't a message preached so much by the educated young clergy that were appointed to our parish, as much as it was the real life witness of the laity in that small congregation. These were people whose lives had been ruled by poverty and struggle. And yet they were able to transcend the present suffering and live each day in the light of God.

It seems so difficult at times to express that ethos today, living in the presence of God while the rest of the world demands our attention. And yet those people of my youth seemed to live it almost effortlessly. As if they were not in control, but rather someone greater was.

As I live out these final days of Lent, I wonder if we are able to live into this way of life? Are we able to experience that transporting love offered to all? Certainly our post-modern sensibilities make it difficult for us to accept what we see as the hand-out of grace. By accepting it and the relationship Jesus offers, we admit that we can do nothing for ourselves depending totally upon the mercy of God. And in the end, it takes us admitting that we are all on the welfare rolls of our Lord...standing at the foot of the Cross...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Country Parson goes to town...

I guess I wasn’t expecting it to affect me the way it did. I had served as a volunteer before. I have worked one on one with the homeless. On top of that, I grew up in one of the poorest parts of Ohio, and had friends who lived without electricity and indoor plumbing. But this was different. I don’t know why, but it was.

It was 5:45 in the morning, and I was standing in front of a huge gothic church in the downtown. It was a hulking reminder of what this neighborhood once was--a haven of immigrant culture, and a lively and thriving community. But now the shadow from its tower cast a pall over the crime and the poverty and the sorrow that we suburbanites would like to forget. I stood at the door thinking of what the morning would hold…busing tables, serving breakfast, and providing some hospitality to the numerous homeless and elderly locals who came in for a hot meal.

There were men and women, young and old. Cold and hungry, many just wanted a place to get warm, a cup of coffee, and someone to talk with.

I had the easy job that morning. I worked the front door, shaking hands and telling folks to come in and get warm. It was strange for me to see the look of surprise on many of their faces when I went to shake their hand. I guess when most of the time people try to avoid you on the street, you’d be surprised when that same type of person suddenly wanted to shake your hand--maybe even suspicious.

By 9am., I was back in my car heading for home. Back to my safe little neighborhood, a world away from the pain and sadness of that place…A few days later in church we were singing, “Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life.” At the second verse, I paused and all the experience of that morning flooded back…

In haunts of wretchedness and need,
On shadowed thresholds dark with fears,
From paths where hide the lures of greed,
We catch the vision of thy tears…

How often have I driven through that neighborhood, my car doors locked? How many times have I turned my head at the approach of a homeless man, wanting to ignore his plight? How long will I enjoy the comfort of my own, warm abode, and not rush to the aid of my brothers and sisters who walk the cold streets alone? How often will I lock my doors to Jesus? How often will I pretend He is not there with the suffering and hurting world? How long will I remain puzzled by the look of surprise on His face as I fail to recognize Him in the face of the poor? How long will it be…

Saturday, February 05, 2005

...kneeling before the Altar at St. Barnabas Church, Montgomery.. Posted by Hello